I'm not friends with anyone I went to school with. I mean, anyone.
It's been nine-and-a-half years since I left to write and live all over the place and kiss inappropriate men and make friends I know I can phone at 4am to cry to. As much as I loved my school pals, we were together by coincidence. We were all born roughly at the same time in roughly the same area and thrown together. It wasn't really a choice. As a hopeless cynic, I wanted people in my life who were there by choice, not because of their postcode.
Alison McKinlay was an odd girl at school, but not in the same way as me. I was giggly, with braces, mad hair and a Harry Potter obsession. She was really pretty and arty-farty and mysterious. She already seemed like a fully-formed person to us, which is only why it only occurs to me now that she might not have been having that great a time either.
She ended up becoming a tattoo artist and last Tuesday, I spent five hours travelling down to Lanark, just south of Glasgow, so she could tattoo me. All my tattoos mean something but when I saw the little gem heart, I fell in love with it instantly. And it is an odd bonding experience to have someone you know tattoo you. An odd experience for two odd girls.
You can see more of Alison's work on her Instagram